Tax Breaks

Teachers Can Deduct COVID-Prevention Supplies on Their Tax Return

Eligible educators can write off expenses for COVID-19 protective items that help stop the spread of the virus in the classroom.

Teachers and other educators can now deduct out-of-pocket expenses for "COVID-19 protective items" on their tax return, thanks to the COVID-Related Tax Relief Act that was passed in December. And the IRS has just issued guidance to help educators determine what is or isn't deductible under the new law.

According to the IRS, deductible supplies include personal protective equipment (PPE) and other items used to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom. Among other things, the list includes:

  • Face masks;
  • Disinfectants;
  • Hand soap;
  • Hand sanitizer;
  • Disposable gloves;
  • Tape, paint or chalk to guide social distancing;
  • Physical barriers (e.g., clear plexiglass);
  • Air purifiers; and
  • Other items recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The deduction is available for up to $250 of unreimbursed cost of COVID-19 protective items paid by an eligible educator after March 12, 2020. An "eligible educator" is anyone who is a kindergarten through 12th grade teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide in a school for at least 900 hours during a school year. The maximum deduction jumps to $500 for a married couple filing a joint return if both spouses are eligible educators – but not more than $250 each.

Other expenses that were already deductible – such as books, supplies, and other materials used in the classroom – also count toward the $250 (or $500) limit. For 2020 tax returns, the deduction is claimed on Schedule 1, Line 10, of Form 1040 or 1040-SR. The IRS will start accepting 2020 tax returns on February 12, and they are due on April 15, 2021.

[Stay on top of all the new stimulus relief developments – Sign up for the Kiplinger Today E-Newsletter. It's FREE!]

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
What Is the Social Security COLA?
retirement

What Is the Social Security COLA?

For the average recipient, the 2021 monthly increase doesn't even cover a fill-up at the gas station — but it beats nothing.
July 14, 2021
11 Best Healthcare Stocks for the Rest of 2021
healthcare stocks

11 Best Healthcare Stocks for the Rest of 2021

The 2020s could be the decade of healthcare stocks. Here are 10 companies and one ETF to watch not just for the remainder of this year, but well beyon…
July 13, 2021

Recommended

IRS Extends Tax Deadlines for Michigan Storm Victims
tax deadline

IRS Extends Tax Deadlines for Michigan Storm Victims

Following FEMA's recent disaster declaration for severe storms, flooding and tornadoes in Michigan, impacted taxpayers get more time to file and pay c…
July 23, 2021
58-Year-Old Landlord Says Goodbye to Tenants
Tax Breaks

58-Year-Old Landlord Says Goodbye to Tenants

How Delaware Statutory Trusts (DSTs) are helping retirees find time and freedom. Here's one couple’s story of gaining their freedom by quitting the la…
July 23, 2021
IRS Is Sending More Unemployment Tax Refund Checks This Summer
Coronavirus and Your Money

IRS Is Sending More Unemployment Tax Refund Checks This Summer

Uncle Sam has already sent tax refunds to millions of Americans who are eligible for the $10,200 unemployment compensation tax exemption. More payment…
July 22, 2021
Taxes on Unemployment Benefits: A State-by-State Guide
state tax

Taxes on Unemployment Benefits: A State-by-State Guide

Don't be surprised by an unexpected state tax bill on your unemployment benefits. Know where unemployment compensation is taxable and where it isn't.
July 22, 2021